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A polite ‘no’ could be the best New Year resolution

This year’s passed and the next is around the corner. January is upon us with new potential, new resolutions and new possibilities. There may be things around us that we alone cannot change... like the economy, taxes and global warming. But we can all focus on our most important foundation – our health – to help carry us successfully through 2012.

In keeping on the straight and narrow there’s no secret or magic formula

We all come up with a long list of resolutions and vow to keep them but most of us will not follow through. But going for simple things may help us make a difference in the new year. This can be approached in different ways:

• Choose more food with the least artificial ingredients and least chemicals. Pick more natural products like apples over apple sauce and milk over ice cream, take more time to shop for groceries and cook fresh produce rather than eating out.

• Instead of looking for more acquisition resulting in more spending, focus on cutting costs. Find something monthly to do away with, something we don’t need or use. Cut down on the frequency of shopping expeditions. Make an effort to reinvent instead of having to go for a new wardrobe.

• Create serene and clean living surroundings. Focus on what you don’t need in your house and office and give it away or recycle it (old furniture, books, clothes). You may also wish to bring fresh plants into your living spaces and move into a smaller living area, which means lower monthly expenditures.

• Reduce the size of your “pill box”. Chart a lifestyle change with your doctor, laying emphasis on prevention rather than cure, targeting reversible illnesses like high cholesterol, obesity, depression or smoking. Try to get rid of that sort of medication that we resort to because of the lifestyle choices we have been making.

• Go for less complicated and demanding time commitments. Learn to say no to anything that is not a resounding yes. Volunteer to participate in those causes you are passionate about and limit your social calendar.

Reasonable resolutions are good to have. Having a goal makes people happy because it gives them a sense of purpose, a feeling of control over their lives, a boost in self-esteem and also a structure.

The famed English philosopher G.K. Chesterton said it best: “There is one thing which gives radiance to everything. It is the idea of something new around the corner.”

Or as Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of psychology at Riverside University, California writes in her book, The How Of Happiness: “Find a happy person and you will find a project.”

Most common New Year resolutions include spending more time with family and friends, fit in a fitness regime that include regular exercise, quit alcohol consumption and smoking, sort out your debt, reduce stress at work and learn something new.

On the other hand, the most broken resolutions according to Time magazine are: lose weight and get fit, quit smoking, learn something new, eat healthier and diet, sort out your debt and save money, spend more time with family and travel to new places.

In keeping on the straight and narrow there’s no secret or magic formula, we just have to say no.

It’s not easy to stick to your resolutions when you’ve got a busy social and family life. When we’re faced with a dilemma, we need to learn how to politely decline and firmly say no.

Your family and real friends should totally understand and support you.

Finally, I wish all readers a simple New Year, full of health, peace and serenity.

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